My Advice To Aspiring Comic Creators, Part 1

by Tito W. James

With the launch of my first graphic novel Crossbone Jones: And Other Twisted Tales, I wanted to give some advice to aspiring comic creators.

I’ve learned a lot from the blogs of Jim Zub and I made a YouTube playlist of Professional Advice.

The following is my opinion based upon my experience as an emerging comic creator.

Research the Industry

You can make a lot of rookie mistakes by not taking the time to read a company’s submission guidelines or a contract carefully enough.

Research what it is like to enter a creative profession so you know if the workload is something you can handle.

Working in comics is just like any other job–it can be rewarding or soul-crushing depending on what you are doing and who you are working with.

Marvel and DC:

You’ve heard of them. You’ve seen their movies. You love superheroes! Too bad they’re not going to hire you unless you’ve been working in comics for about a decade. Moving on!

Creator-Owned Indie

Image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, and others. These are the creator-owned publishers you should be focusing on. They have clear submission guidelines for what they are looking for.

Pick Your Discipline

Writer, Penciler/Inker, Colorist, Letterer.

Page Rates

WFH/PAGE MAINSTREAM INDIE
Script $80-100 $25-50
Covers $600-700 $200-500
Line art $200-300 $100-250
Color art $120-150 $35-100
Letters $20-25 $10-20

 

Working with Collaborators

You can find a collaborator at a comic convention or online.

If you’re a writer who wants to work with an artist, you can write a “work for hire” agreement. “Work for hire” means that the client (Writer) owns all the work the contractor (Artist) produced as if they created it themselves. That being said, never neglect to credit your artists for their work. Or you can create an equal partnership as co-creators.

Red Flags

  • Contractors asking for more money than the Client can afford.
  • Team members not responding to email.
  • Team members being unenthusiastic about the project.
  • Don’t mix business with friendship.

Storytelling

Here are three books that I found helpful and really fun to read.

Making Comics

Wonderbook

Save the Cat

Tito W. James

Tito W. James writes action adventure comics for all ages that juxtapose creepy content with beautiful imagery. He is the mastermind behind CROSSBONE JONES and GANGSTERS VS GATORS.

Tito’s goal is to create comics that capture the bombastic fun of old comics with the emotional resonance of new ones.